Chicago Bear's Insider: Looking Ahead at Offensive Line Draft Needs

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Chicago Bear's Insider: Looking Ahead at Offensive Line Draft Needs
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Right now, it looks like the Bears are heading in the right direction and we all know what the most likely means.  It means that they will probably keep Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jerry Angelo around for at least another year.  If that happens, it means that we, as Bear’s fans, will have to endure another year with Angelo drafting players and unfortunately he’s had a lot more misses than he’s had hits.

Hopefully, Angelo will be able to take heed from past drafts, as well as what his team needs, and perhaps he will be able to draft better than he has in the past.  He has to, or else the Bears will struggle in the coming seasons.

Unfortunately, the Bear’s biggest need has been Angelo’s biggest draft weakness: Drafting offensive linemen.  He has not hit on any of the offensive linemen he has drafted (although the jury is still out on Chris Williams and J’Marcus Webb), but hopes are high that he will be able to get it right in 2011.  Why?  Because he has to.

The Bears need help at all three positions on the offensive line for 2011.  There is not one position that is completely solid, so they will want to add starting potential to that unit, as well as depth.  Hopefully after what Angelo has seen this season, he doesn’t hesitate drafting offensive linemen.

So what players entering the 2011 NFL draft might be good fits for the Bears?  Would the Bears select an offensive lineman in the first round of next year’s draft?  Should they?

Let’s take a look at three players at the guard, center and tackle position that could interest the Bears heading into the 2011 NFL Draft.

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Center

Olin Kreutz is getting older and may not be around in a couple of years.  The time has come to get a center on the team to prepare for the departure of Kreutz—when the day comes.  They also need depth at the position since Kreutz is the only true center on the roster.

So what players might be out there? 

Let’s take a look at some talent at the position, talent that right now is projected to go in the third to sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft (where the Bears are most likely to draft a center).

1.  Stefen Wisniewski-Penn State-Right now, Wisniewski is listed as the best center in the 2011 NFL Draft, and the Bears could use him.  He does have some injury questions that he would have to answer, but for the Bears, he might be there best bet.  The only problem is he may go much earlier than the Bears might want to take him.

2.  Michael Brewster-Ohio State-Mechanically, Brewster may be the better of the centers coming out in the 2011 NFL Draft.  He’s a hard worker, solid on and off the field and very intelligent.  He would be a nice fit in Chicago.

3.  Dan Wegner-Notre Dame-The Bears may be interested in Wegner, who has shown versatility, being able to play both guard and center.  Look for the Bears to take a look at him as they prepare for the draft.

Offensive Tackle

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Bears issues at offensive tackle are well known.  After starting him at left tackle, the Bears moved Williams, a former first round pick, to the guard spot and feel that his career is there.  They have Frank Omiyale at the left tackle spot, and while he is serviceable, he makes mistakes often and isn’t the guy that you want protecting your quarterbacks blind side.  Rookie J’Marcus Webb has been a fixture on the right side but is he the long term answer?

The Bears need some better depth at both positions as well, and should look to get that in the draft if they don’t look for a starter at one or both of the tackle positions.

Here are three guys that the Bears may be interested in at the tackle position going into the draft.

1.  Anthony Costanzo-Boston College-Costanzo is the consensus number one tackle heading into the draft next year, and he may go too high for the Bears to get him, but you never know.  If he is available, Chicago would get a solid offensive tackle that could step in and start right away, helping them with their problems at the position.

2.  Darius Morris-Temple-If the Bears are looking for a solid offensive tackle that can learn and eventually step in at some point and start Morris could be their guy.  He’s got some nice skills, he’s strong and he’s got a good work ethic which will appeal to the Bears.

3.  Nate Solder-Colorado-A later round prospect that might interest the Bears, Solder has a lot of skill and, talent but would be a project. If the Bears are willing to let him develop a little bit, they could have a pretty nice player on their roster in the future.

Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Guards

The Bears have struggled at the guard position this season, but hopes are high that Williams will be able to fit in and play one guard position well.  With Roberto Garza manning the other side, Chicago has a guy that is serviceable, but definitely getting older, so the time to look for his replacement is now.

Let’s take a quick look at three guys that should interest the Bears at the guard position and give them some options coming up in next year’s draft.

1.  Mike Pouncey-Florida-Right now, Pouncey is the highest rated guard, so far, in the 2011 NFL Draft, so if the Bears want to get him, they will need to use their first round pick to do it.  He is an NFL ready talent that can start right away, which may appeal to the Bears.

2.  John Moffitt-Wisconsin-Moffitt is a converted center and has the talent to perform at both positions.  If the Bears don’t like him at the guard position they could easily move him to center where he could perform well.

3.  James Carpenter-Alabama-Carpenter has been part of Alabama’s tough rushing offense, and though he needs a little bit of work, he could be a serviceable starter or a nice backup in the next season or two.

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